Google has struggled for years with branding. The biggest sample size is the mess of messaging apps that have been killed, revived, renamed, and merged. We saw numerous iterations from Talk, Chat, Allo, and now Meet. The same has been true for multiple social experiments as well.
Fitbit Should Win
But when it comes to Fitbit, I can’t help but think that Google is about to repeat past tropes that we saw with Google Play Music. It took the brain trust far too long to realize that YouTube was its biggest presence and branding in music.
After several years of investing in the Play Music naming, the company turned face and embraced YouTube Music with an official rebrand. More recently, it seems Google Podcasts will also be absorbed inside the YouTube Music umbrella in a similar fashion.
I’m here to suggest that Google not make this same mistake again with Google Wear OS. Google needs to skip a few stumbles and jump to the conclusion that its wearable brand should be Fitbit. The Moutain View board saw the appeal of this brand and paid $2.1 billion to acquire one of the first wearable brands to ever exist.
You bought this trend-setting name in Fitbit because, to this day, it’s the most recognized option in wearables outside of the Apple Watch. Fitbits predate almost any other viable wearable. It beat the Apple Watch to market by eight years!
For those keeping notes, that means Fitbit came out in 2009, around eighteen months after the first iPhone. The Apple Watch and Wear OS literally exist because they needed a competitor to Fitbit. Google should fold this into its lineup as a first-party brand instead of trying to shoehorn it into Wear OS as fitness data.
Wear OS should be there in some capacity
I’m not saying that Wear OS has to die completely. I honestly think the easiest way to move forward is to find a middle ground where Google gets the underneath software but leverages the Fitbit name. I get that Android makes sense as the code running the system for numerous reasons like app consistency and porting from other Android devices.
However, what you call it also matters and if you polled a thousand people across multiple age groups, I’d guarantee you that Fitbit will be recognized by a larger percentage. The average consumer doesn’t care that it runs Android or Fitbit’s software under the hood. Just like many probably still don’t know that Galaxy phones run Android. They don’t care!
They just know the brand. Fitbit should be this brand for wearables. Google needs to get this right and not have to change course years later like YouTube Music. Convince me otherwise, but I stand by this logic.